Coming Up For Air

11 Jun


The brilliant blogger Learnermother recently wrote a witty post about her life “Coming Out of the Tunnel“.

By that, she meant the defining moment as an imperfect mother when you finally stop digging in the dark and find the precious light at the end. Or put another way, you stop drowning in a sea of tediousness and self doubt and come up for air.

This thought, this feeling, really resonated with me, because I’ve spent a long time in my own tunnel. In fact, the whole basis for creating the Doubtful Mum blog was to vent about my horrific time down there.

You see life before Oscar was simple, selfish and successful. I had a plan…… to meet a rich man, buy a house and get married. Well 2 out of 3 ain’t bad. We had fulfilling jobs, spare cash, new cars, 5 star holidays and sex for the very hell of it (sorry mum).

But simplicity gets dull. So as soon as the wedding vows were spoken and the chocolate fountain consumed, I convinced myself that as a self professed child hater, I was perfect mother material, and the time for action was NOW.

After 3 years of trying and a round of IVF, my boy was born. And whilst there was joy and love, SO much love for what we had created, I soon entered the tunnel, digging frantically day by day. (Ooh it’s dark in here, did somebody turn the lights off?)

Days were filled with nappies, shit, sleep deprivation and crying, occasionally even from the baby. Personal pride and vanity vanished, showers were a rare luxury, and baths, BATHS! I tried one once, doesn’t mix with sleep deprivation, almost drowned.

Then, just as you think you are emerging from that baby tunnel and start getting cocky, telling yourself, “I’ve got this shit licked”, BAM! Come the toddler tantrums, the biting, the hitting and the dread that every trip outside your house will end in rolling eyes and unbearable embarrassment. Back down I go. Dig, dig, dig.

And once this truly vile period ends and you start getting sure of yourself again, BAM! Comes the 3 year old “tude”, the whining, obstinance and general mind fuckery. Get back down into that tunnel and start shovelling!

But something happened this weekend. Something kind of small, but important.

I realised, I’m emerging from my tunnel. I’ve come up for air.

On Saturday, the tyrant didn’t get up in a foul mood and argue with every word I said. And he didn’t go to a child’s birthday party and behave like an ungrateful, anti-social moron.

No. He was kind of normal all day.

And I didn’t go out with greasy hair, wearing an outfit that screams “I HAVE NO IDENTITY AND NO TASTE”.

No. I washed my hair and wore the sort of outfit I would have compiled in the days when I gave a damn.

So we all went to a child’s birthday party, and he JOINED IN. He had fun. And while he had fun, I actually managed to talk to some adults. And for a whole 2 hours, I enjoyed myself, and for just the briefest of moments, I didn’t feel like a guilt ridden, useless, inadequate parent. I felt like me.

That same afternoon, I left my amenable boy at said birthday party and went to another party on my own. As a grown up. I enjoyed myself. AGAIN.

Then on Sunday, we went on a train, upto London, had lunch together in an actual restaurant, without the boy screaming, shouting, refusing his food, or trying to escape every two minutes, and spent the afternoon at the Transport Museum indulging his fantasies by looking at trains, buses and well…..trains and buses.

After another hour long train journey home, little man had dinner and we finished the evening with our new daily exercise – a run round the block as a family.

An effortless weekend. For once, I didn’t endure. I felt capable, relaxed, and lapped up every moment with Roche Junior and by myself.

And to prove it was no fluke, yesterday, I collected my son from childminders sporting his third “well done” sticker in a week *beams*, and once home, I baked some cakes just for the sheer pleasure of it.

See……out of that tunnel into the light. Life finally ticking along nicely all harps and choirs.

So why the hell then am I desperate to be back in that tunnel? Why am I hellbent on shattering this blissful state of tranquility by adding another screaming, puking, shitting baby to the mix?

Believe me, I ask myself this question almost everyday. Ask myself why, when sunlight and air are so much nicer than darkness and isolation do I want to go back underground?

Am I fecking crazy?

Perhaps it’s because my heart doesn’t listen to my head.

Perhaps it’s because it’s not until you have been into the tunnel a few times that you can truly appreciate being above ground.

Perhaps it’s because fate has made it so DAMN difficult for me to get into that poxy tunnel, I’m goddam determined to the point of bloody mindedness to do it again, just to show fate who is in charge.

But it isn’t going to happen just yet. Not even close.

Apparently my body feels differently to my heart. The prospect of another IVF cycle has somewhat upset my ovaries. They aren’t happy with my ideas, they are staging a revolt.

So for now, I stop digging. I stay above ground, above water and breathe.


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